Dance captured on video

Erik Novoa and Sophie dance at MADjam 2013It might be awkward to hear this, but I'm not often thrilled by my own dancing. Don't get me wrong, I'm very proud of my accomplishments in West Coast Swing, Hustle and 25 years of dancing. But it's not often that I see a video of myself and say that it looks as good as it felt.

Sometimes Good is Bad, and Bad is Good

Erik Novoa and Sophie dance West Coast Swing at MADjam 2013You see, dance is weird. Sometimes we have these performances or social dances that feel like amazing, but when you see the video footage they often underwhelm. I have had many experiences when I thought that my dance with someone in a competition was awesome, only to later see that it was rather bland. Sometimes, the energy was high but it didn't have the fluctuatinos and nuances to make it amazing. Sometimes, I'll even think it was a good dance and then realize that I never let the follower have a moment to express herself.

And of course, there have been times when I've walked off the floor totally disappointed with how my dance felt only later to see that it was quite smooth or interpretive. There have even been times when I felt I hardly led a move only to discover that I had let let the follower embellish the dance with great ethetic reward.

Just a regular dance

Erik Novoa and Sophie get videoed dancing West Coast Swing at MADjam 2013And then a moment like this comes along. Sophie Cazeneuve had asked me to dance and of course, I said yes. We started a West Coast Swing dance to one of my favorite songs (Breakin' Me by Jonny Lang) just as I've started a dance to many thousands of songs before. Within the first 45 seconds of the song I could feel that this was going to be my best dance of the weekend. There was just something that was clicking. It wasn't like Sophie and I had danced a lot - it was probably our second or third dance ever together. But somehow it was working.

Captured on video

All of a sudden, I looked up from my trance-like state to see Anna Solomon, another dance friend, holding up a smart phone and capturing video of the dance. I couldn't believe that the dance that was feeling so good was going to be on video. But I had to make sure that the video didn't change my overall dance. What resulted was one of the most pure, calm and mature dances I've seen of myself. It wasn't the only time I've had a good dance like this, but it was one of the only times where the good feeling I had of the dance while it was occurring matched the good feeling I had when I watched it. I hope Sophie feels the same way about the video, she was wonderful to dance with.

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